Even with the many luxuries celebrities can afford during their pregnancies, no woman is guaranteed to experience a perfect birth. Some celebrities have had near-death experiences, while others have gone on the record claiming that giving birth was close to painless.
Whichever side of the coin it may be, we’re appreciative of all of the leading ladies who shared their honest birthing stories that, in turn, can reassure a pregnant woman that she’s not alone in her journey.
1. Shay Mitchell
Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell called her first birth in 2019 “definitely the most intense experience of my life” after she spent over a day in labor. Shay detailed her experience welcoming daughter Atlas Noa into the world in a vlog on YouTube where she took viewers on the journey with her and Matte Babel.
Shay and Matte originally disagreed on her getting an epidural, but after being in labor for 13 hours, then taking pitocin without labor moving any faster, Shay’s doula encouraged her to take the epidural. More recently, Shay welcomed her second daughter, Rome, to the world, but luckily, she didn’t undergo 33 hours of labor again!
2. Kristin Cavallari
Kristin Cavallari, the ex-wife of NFL star Jay Cutler, admitted to having a painful labor and delivery with her son Camden Jack.
“It was so painful but a different kind of pain — because I knew we were going to meet our son. It was worth every minute and I'll do it again,” she shared.
Her husband Jay was out at a Chicago Bears training camp when Kristin thought her contractions had begun. Jay rushed back, despite Kristin discovering that it was false labor, but by the time her husband arrived home the contractions had actually begun.
3. Elsa Hosk
Model Elsa Hosk penned a six-part essay on her birthing experience with daughter Tuulikki Joan. After feeling uneasy about giving birth at her hospital in New York City, Elsa and her partner Tom Daly devised a home birth plan for a natural, drug-free water birth in her bathtub at their home in Los Angeles. Along with her midwife and doula, Elsa used a hypnobirthing coach to help her stay calm. She had a long labor, but once she finally gave birth to her daughter, Elsa shared in her essay, “the most pain I’ve ever felt is forgotten, I am overwhelmed with love, proudness, happiness.”
“We all fall asleep together on the bed where she was born. A few days have passed since and sometimes I look at her and I cry when I think about what we went through together. I feel such gratitude for the women around me.”
4. Gisele Bundchen
Model Gisele Bundchen is #goals for many obvious reasons, but she also made us green with envy over her “painless,” eight-hour birth. When delivering her son Benjamin, Gisele opted for a bathtub home birth without any pain relief beyond the support of her husband Tom Brady’s hand! She credits yoga, meditation, and the minimal amount of pregnancy weight gain for how easy her labor was.
“I kept myself in good shape during the whole pregnancy, eating healthily, meditating and doing exercise. I put on a little weight but kept the same clothes, with small adjustments on the stomach,” she explained in a Brazilian magazine.
5. Gigi Hadid
Something about being a supermodel must give a gal a predisposition for home births! Last year, Gigi Hadid gave birth to her baby girl Khai at her home with boyfriend Zayn Malik, mom Yolanda Hadid, sister Bella Hadid, and her midwife present. Having her family members present was a major priority for Gigi and she knew that Covid-19 hospital protocols would complicate things. Though Gigi considered an epidural, she eventually chose a natural birth even though she knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“I had to dig deep. I knew it was going to be the craziest pain in my life, but you have to surrender to it and be like, ‘This is what it is.’ I loved that,” she shared.
Gigi was in labor for 14 hours before delivering baby Khai a week late. Post-partum, Gigi shared that she was striving to be kind to her body and not force herself into being as thin as she was before.
6. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian has been very vocal about her childbirth complications with her first two children which eventually led her to choose surrogacy for her other children. After giving birth to baby North, Kim developed placenta accreta, a condition where all or part of the placenta grows too deep into the woman’s uterus. When giving birth to baby Saint, who was breech, Kim underwent placenta accreta for a second time and has had to have five surgeries since then.
"I'm so thankful for my beautiful kids, no matter how they came to me — they came to me," she shared. "I'm so thankful for surrogates. I'm really thankful for my family. I grew up with so many siblings. I just loved being in a big environment. I would have gone through the same pain and back for the result of having my babies. It was all worth it."
7. Kenya Moore
In 2018, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore gave birth to her “miracle baby” at the age of 47. Between in vitro fertilization, an emergency c-section, and preeclampsia, Moore did not have an easy pregnancy. Despite complications which led her to gain “17 lbs. in ONE week due to severe swelling and water retention, high blood pressure, and excess protein in urine,” Kenya stayed positive.
“If you want to make God laugh have a plan,” she shared on Instagram. Moore and her husband Marc Daly welcomed daughter Brooklyn Doris into the world, who is already a total fashionista like her mother!
8. Jessica Alba
Back in 2011, actress Jessica Alba shared that she birthed her baby girl Haven with the amniotic sac entirely intact, a rare phenomenon which only occurs once in every 80,000 births, according to experts.
"I was in the middle of pushing and he told me not to push. He was wearing basketball shorts and a T-shirt and said: 'Oh, I have to get my scrubs on for this!' The sac burst on its own after she came out. It was a trip.”
Jessica and husband Cash Warren let this unique experience inspire the name of their firstborn, since Cash observed her entering the world in a “safe haven” from the intact amniotic sac.
9. Carrie Underwood
Country music superstar Carrie Underwood genuinely wasn’t sure if she could birth another child. After multiple miscarriages and a devastating fall down her steps at home, which warranted 40 to 50 facial stitches and surgery for a broken wrist, Carrie shared how blessed she felt to be able to give her son Isaiah Michael a brother, Jacob.
“I was just sobbing. And I was like, 'Why on Earth do I keep getting pregnant if I can't have a kid? Like, what is this? Shut the door. Like, do something. Either shut the door or let me have a kid,” Carrie said about grieving her multiple miscarriages. She visited her doctor expecting to hear that she had had a fourth miscarriage, but instead her doctor confirmed that she was pregnant with her second baby boy.
10. Olivia Wilde
Actress Olivia Wilde shared that she went into labor while attending a Jon Batiste concert with her husband, Jason Sudeikis, in New York City. Despite her water breaking, she finished the concert and then traveled to the hospital to give birth to her baby boy Otis Alexander.
“My water broke somewhere up on the balcony. So next time you’re there, think of us,” she shared on Instagram.
Then, in 2016, Olivia almost had another concert birth when pregnant with her daughter Daisy, but luckily her contractions began before they could even arrive for the show.
11. Evangeline Lilly
When Evangeline Lilly was pregnant with her son Kahekili, the actress opted for a drug-free home birth.
"I actually skipped the hospital…We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural," Evangeline told Jay Leno on his Tonight Show back in 2011.
Evangeline went through five hours of pushing before her midwife and birthing assistant stepped in with different techniques to try. Shortly after giving birth, director Peter Jackson gave Evangeline a call to ask if she wanted to have a role in his movie, The Hobbit. The opportunity was so enticing for Evangeline that she brought Kahekili to set with her daily and breastfed him in her trailer.
12. Jen Lilley
Actress Jen Lilley experienced a surprise pregnancy after having a history with miscarriages. What’s more, Jen had been experiencing prodromal labor, a type of contraction similar to Braxton Hicks that caused her to not know she was on the verge of giving birth. Jen almost gave birth during her car ride to the hospital, with her arrival time being 1:05 AM and the time of birth being 1:12 AM!
"If I had this baby in the car or something, I don't know that she would've survived," she shared in regards to the fact that her baby girl breathed in some of the fluid when her water broke and that she herself began hemorrhaging after giving birth. "So it was just one of those things where it was like, thank God we got to the hospital."
Jen said that the amount of time she was pushing probably only amounted to 15 seconds at most and that precipitous labor (giving birth within three hours) runs in her family.
Whether going into labor unexpectedly at a concert or experiencing a "painless" and intimate home birth, the birthing stories that influential women share with the world show us just how uniquely beautiful and eventful each woman's pregnancy is. Each woman’s fertility journey looks different, but knowing that even Hollywood’s biggest names can struggle with miscarriages and birthing complications can help reassure mothers-to-be everywhere that they're not alone in their journey.
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